Nora Wompi

Nora Wompi grew up in the desert, primarily north and east of Punmu and Kunawarritji communities. Nora was born with ‘pussycat’ (feral cat) Tjukurrpa (Dreaming) in the Great Sandy Desert in a place called Lilparu, (Well 33 on the Canning Stock Route). Here she lived a traditional nomadic life with her family: her older brother looking after her and teaching her how to hunt.

When she was young, her parents often went hunting and left her in the care of her older brother. Wompi remembers him as a good brother, who carried her to the shade, and brought her cool water. Nora says that “I saw whitefellas first time near my country, Kunawarritji”. She stayed with her family until she was able to hunt for herself, but eventually decided that she, like many of her relatives, would leave the desert.

Wompi travelled north through Kulikujara, Puntilyarr, Walayurtu,Pankarn, Jintijinti and Mayililyi before reaching Billiluna. Nomadic life was harsh during dry times and she tells of the long walk into Balgo Mission with her mother and brother to find water and food. At the Balgo Mission (old Balgo), Wompi cooked bread at the bakery, tended to the goats, and met her husband – brother to fellow artist Lucy Yukenbarri.

Wompi and her husband, Dick Cowboy (deceased) would paint together in the early days of Warlayirti Artists as was common then when husband and wives in Balgo. They spent some time in Fitzroy Crossing until her husband passed away, then Nora returned to Balgo and painted for Warlayirti Artists. She lived at Balgo and surrounding communities before returning to Kunawarritji to be with her close relatives. She continues to visit her family and friend in the Balgo community.

Her work oscillates between intricate tracings of familiar country and painterly strokes of bold colour: passionate outpourings of her deep love of the spirit and physical being of her country. She is a prolific painter and evocative storyteller, with deep knowledge about the country surrounding her home at Kunawarritji.

Sadly, Nora passed away in October 2017.

Kunawarritji, Nuipil, Nyarruri (natural springs) ; Seven Sisters story; Wana (digging stick) Kamput (bush tomato); Kantilli (bush raisin)

Solo Exhibitions
2013 Pirkijarra (My Mother), Suzanne O’Connel Gallery, Sydney
2012 Nora Wompi, Suzanne O’Connel Gallery, Melbourne Art Fair, VIC
2011 Nora Wompi, Suzanne O’Connell Gallery, Brisbane
2010 Nora Wompi, Suzanne O’Connell Gallery, fortyfivedownstairs, Melbourne
2009 Nora Wompi, Suzanne O’Connell Gallery, Brisbane
2008 Nora Wompi, Suzanne O’Connell Gallery, Brisbane
2002 Nora Wompi, Raft Artspace, Darwin

Group Exhibitions
2016 Scratching the Surface, Alliance Francaise de Sydney, Sydney, NSW
2016 Pirkijarra (My Mother), Suzanne O’Connell Gallery, New Farm
2016 Summer SAlon Art Parade
2015 Palya, MArtumili Artists, Tjarliri Art and WaraKurna Artists, Vivien Anderson Gallery, Brightspace
2015 Leading Ladies, Suzanne O’Connell Gallery, New Farm, QLD
2015 Tarnanthi, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, SA
2015 Desert Mob, Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs, NT
2015 Martumili Artists, Paul Johnstone Gallery, Darwin, NT
2015 Pukurla- Good Inside, Yaama Ganu Gallery, Moree, NSW
2015 Together as One Martu – Art form the far Western Desert, The Galllery Shop, Waverly, NSW
2015 Warlayirti, Art Atrium, Sydney
2015 A Time & Place – Landscapes from the Griffith University Art Collection, Brisbane
2014 ‘Martumili’ Paintings from Western Australia, Harvey Arts Project, Sun Valley, USA
2014 Warlayirti Artists: the Art of Balgo, RMIT Gallery, Melbourne & Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs
2014 Desert Mob Exhibition, Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs
2014 LIFT, Palya Art, Perth
2014 Country to Coast; Colours of the Kimberley, Aboriginal Art Museum – Utrecht. Curated by Georges Petitjean
2012 Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair, Darwin, NT
2012 Desert Mob Exhibition, Araluen Centre, Alice Springs, NT.
2012 Warlayirti Artists, Artkelch Pro Community, Freiburg, Grassi Museum Leipzig, Fabrik Der Kunste, Hamburg and Galerie Gunzoburg Bodensee (Lake Constance), Germany
2011 Nora and Nora, Suzanne O’Connell Gallery, Brisbane
2011 Desert Mob, Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs, NT
2011 Redot Gallery, Singapore
2011 Kunnawarnitj Tjukurrpa: Wirrimanu ga Nyinin, Short Street Gallery Broome
2011 Nora Wompi and Nora Nganapa, Suzanne O’Connell Gallery, New Farm Qld
2010 Edge of the Lake, Short St Gallery, Broome
2010 Balgo Survey, Rheinfelden/Baden, Haus Salmegg, Colamon Aboriginal Art Gallery Schopfheim, Germany
2010 Balgo Survey, ReDot Gallery, Singapore
2010 Mixed exhibition, Palya Art , Melbourne, Sydney, Perth
2010 “Ingalimpa Tjuntu” – Singing Songs “We sing the country and that’s how we find the way”, ReDot Fine Art Galleries, Audi Forum Building, Tokyo
2010 Desert Mob, Araluen Centre, Alice Springs, NT
2009 Survey Balgo, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
2009 Desert Mob, Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs
2008 We Are Painting Country – Ngurra Waltja Wakarni, Short St. Gallery, Broome WA
2008 Balgo Survey, Redot Gallery, Singapore
2007 Mixed show, Palya Art , Melbourne, Sydney Perth
2007 Women With Sticks, Suzanne O’Connell, Brisbane
2007 Survey, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
2007 Survey, They Might be Giants, Woolloongabba Art Gallery, Brisbane
2007 Recent Works, Short Street Gallery, Broome
2006 Balgo – Recent Works, Short St Gallery, Broome, WA
2006 Singing and Dancing up the Country, Raft Gallery, Darwin
2005 Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
2004 Balgo a Go Go, Grantpirrie, Sydney
2004 Balgo 4-04, Warlayirti Artists, Balgo
2003 Eight by Three, Scott Livesey Art Dealer, Melbourne
2003 Balgo Prints, Northern Editions, Darwin
2002 Art from Balgo, Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs

Art Gallery of New South Wales
Araluen Arts Centre Collection
Brocard – Estrangin Collection
Griffith University Art Collection, Brisbane
Helen Read Collection
HBL Collection, Melbourne
National Gallery of Victoria
National Museum of Australia
The Edward Rowden White Collection, Trinity College, University of Melbourne
The Laverty Collection, Sydney

2014 Finalist, Western Australian Indigenous Art Award, Art Gallery of WA
2011 28th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Museum and Art Gallery of NT, Darwin
2008 35th Alice Prize, Araluen, Alice Springs
2007 24th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin

Australian Art Collector, Oct –Dec 2011. Pg. 116-119 ‘NAATSIA’S Pick of the Crop-Nora Wompi’
Australian Art Collector, April-June 2012. Pg. 164-167 ‘Indigenous Art Centres in Australia’
Australian Art Review, Jul-Augusts 2011 pg. 61-64 ‘Suzanne O’Connell Gallery’
Cowan, J., (1994) Wirrimanu Aboriginal Art from the Balgo Hills, G+B Arts International Limited, Sydney. Desert Mob Exhibition Catalogue, Aug, 2012
Grant Pirrie Gallery, (2004) Balgo a Go Go, Exhibition Catalogue GrantPirrie Gallery, Sydney. Glowczewski, B., 1991, Yapa: Peintres Aborigines de Balgo et Lajamanu, Lebon Gallery, Paris.
Jukurrpa Diary (2006) June illustration (IAD Press) Alice Springs.
Kreczmanski, J & Birnberg M., (2004) Aboriginal Artists Dictionary of Biographies, JB Publishing, Adelaide. Peter, S. & Lofts, P., (eds) (1997) Yarrtji Six women’s stories from the Great Sandy Desert (Balgo). Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra
Ryan, J., (2004), Colour Power Aboriginal art post 1984, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Suzanne O’Connell Gallery (2007) Women with Sticks, Watson, C., (2007) ‘Wirrimanu: Meeting Place’ One Sun One Moon Aboriginal Art in Australia,Art Gallery of New South Wales,
Watson, C., (2003) Piercing the Ground Freemantle Arts Centre Press, Freemantle.
Watson, C.,(1999) ‘Touching the Land: Towards an aesthetic of Balgo contemporary painting’ Art from the Land, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Williamson, S & Togni, S (eds) Eubena Nampitjin Art and Life, Warlayirti Artists Aboriginal Corporation, Balgo Hills.


Kunawarritji - 2001
Nora Wompi
  • $880.00